This article appeared in the July issue of Caravan and Outdoor Life Magazine:
Having lost our first much-loved old caravan in an accident, and then owned a brand new caravan, which we sold to pay for a trip to the UK, we were sadly caravan-less for about two years, during which time we occasionally tented – much to my husband’s disgust (he hates a tent).
I began to have longing thoughts about buying another caravan, which we both knew because of budget and preferences would have to be an old one. I started researching older model caravans of all brands, and we decided that a Gypsey Caravette 5-berth would be just right for us. One problem – they are like hens-teeth to find.
Round about this time, we had a houseful of Swiss visitors, and plans to go to the Kruger Park with them; we chose to camp, using our tent, rather than stay in accommodation. When our neighbours heard about our plans, they said absolutely not, we must borrow their caravan. It had stood in their garage for about five years, being carefully maintained but never used. Well, we gratefully accepted (the thought of a regularly deflating air-mattress as opposed to a bed in a caravan was the clincher). We were a bit worried when we found out that the van was not insured, and our neighbour had no intention of insuring it either: “Don’t worry about it”, he said! Turned out that their caravan was a 1989 Gypsey Caravette 5 (exactly what I had set my heart on for our next caravan).
Off we went, driving on eggs and trying desperately ‘not to worry about it’. By the time we were nearing the end of our ten-day stay, we were hooked firmly on caravanning again, and wondering how much would be acceptable to offer our neighbours as a purchase price on this lovely little old van. I hardly dared hope we could buy it, but I did allow some dreaming about refurbishing the old curtains and cushions, and my husband (the handy-man) made remarks about how, if it were our van, he would change this and that to make it more comfortable.
When we got home, we spent an entire day cleaning the caravan inside and out, carefully re-packing our neighbours equipment, which we had left at home, back into it’s original places. Only then did we contact our friends to make arrangements to return their caravan. Their reaction? “We’ve so enjoyed having the extra space in the garage, we would be delighted if you bought it. If you want it, don’t bring it back”. We were so thrilled! A price was negotiated, the deal done and we owned a caravan again.
Then the fun of refurbishing started – more about that next time.